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LeBron says he was going to play until he got the last rebound needed for his triple-double against Sixers

Feb 24, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Lebrion James, Dwyane Wade AP

The Heat won their 10th straight game on Saturday, taking care of the Sixers easily behind a game-high 33 points from Dwyane Wade, and a triple-double effort from LeBron James.

Miami led by 16 after three quarters, and it would have been easy for James to sit the rest of this one out, even though as the fourth quarter began, he was one rebound shy of that elusive triple-double achievement.

LeBron was aware of his statistical situation on this night, however, and there was no way he was going to let this game finish without making sure he recorded the final rebound that would give him that special numerical accomplishment.

From Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida:

“I was going to be out there until I got it,’’ James said. “I wasn’t letting this one slip away. I’ve had way too many nine-rebound, nine-assist games. And I had the whole (fourth) quarter to get one rebound. So I didn’t care if Dwyane Wade would have stood at the scorer’s table the whole quarter until I got my rebound.’’

James got his rebound with 11:11 left in the game. He then left the game for good with 10:15 left in favor of Wade and with the Heat leading 89-74 …

Plenty of people cite the purity of the game and similar nonsense when criticizing players for trying to notch individual statistical achievements. But in this case, no one should have an issue with LeBron wanting to make sure he ended up with that triple-double, for a variety of reasons.

While the game may have been effectively out of reach for the Sixers when James was still in there to start the fourth, technically the deficit wasn’t so large where the Heat would have some moral obligation to sit their best players. A lead under 20 to open the final period isn’t likely to change Erik Spoelstra’s regular rotations, so James was going to be in there anyway.

This wasn’t a case where LeBron was playing with under a minute remaining and his team up by an insurmountable margin, where he’d be embarrassing himself to chase some stats. He simply was being honest (and likely a bit playful) when acknowledging he knew what was needed to reach his triple-double, and given the circumstances surrounding the game at the time, there isn’t anything wrong with that.

  1. tannethrill - Feb 24, 2013 at 8:24 AM

    Guy is just being honest

    • manchestermiracle - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:07 AM

      Yes, honestly concerned about personal stats….

      • loungefly74 - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:31 AM

        why so many thumbs down? manchestermiracle, you nailed it, man. as did lphboston…

        well…what does that say about his character to be consumed with stats? he knew how many rebounds he had? smh. lebron is the best player in the league…but things like this…makes me lose a little respect for the guy. he needs to hire jerry maguire as an agent. (kinda felt the same when durant admitted he will not jack up a shot at the end because it may mess up his numbers.)

    • lphboston - Feb 24, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      Celtics went through this when Rondo was trying to keep alive his streak of games with double-digit assists. Remember Ricky Davis (think he was with Cleveland at the time) intentionally missing a shot so he could get a rebound and a triple-double?

      Sorry, anyone who is OK with this stuff is wrong. Even James knowing how many rebounds he needed for a triple-double reeks of Wade Boggs calculating his batting average in his head before he reached first base on a single.

      I read a book once in which Red Auerbach in contract negotiations used to tell players that the only numbers he looked at when determining salary negotiations was how many titles a player’s team had won.

  2. mrfloydpink - Feb 24, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    You can’t spell ‘loser’ without l-e-b-r-o-n

    • totallyuselessme - Feb 24, 2013 at 8:59 AM

      Yeah, except he’s the reigning NBA MVP, Finals MVP, NBA Champ, gold medalist and the likely NBA MVP again this year while he trounces through the regular season breaking and setting records on a weekly basis. Other than that, the guy’s a total loser.

      What’re you on, dude? Pass it this way.

      • craighsite - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:02 PM

        It’s shame with all the hate for this young man! I saw the interview after the game and he was being facetious. He was laughing when he said it while looking at the stat sheet for the game. The way this young man plays is contrary to every comment in this story. Shame on Brett for not explaining the context! Let this young man live and stop judging and exploiting everything that he says and does!

    • drewzducks - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:38 AM

      “Hey Lebron…Ha ha, charade you are…”

      • loungefly74 - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:32 AM

        love it! (animals)

    • dacapt704 - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      3 time NBA MVP, 2 time all star MVP, Olympian and REIGNING Finals MVP…what a real loser! If only my son can be a loser like this….SMH

      Its not like Lebron isnt the ultimate team guy…so what he wanted 1 more rebound? Its not like he pulled a Ricky Davis and missed on purpose to get the last rebound, it came within the flow of the game. Get over this hate…its not good to live with floydpink

    • mrfloydpink - Feb 24, 2013 at 2:58 PM

      If a person can’t realize that playing for a triple-double–an arbitrary statistical accomplishment–is both selfish and stupid, I don’t know what to say. Has a player that went 30-11-10 REALLY had a different game than one that went 30-11-9?

      I’ll say one more thing: Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan would NEVER stay in a game for this reason, because their focus is/was not on their personal stats. I guess that’s why they have 11 rings between them and LeBron James has one.

      • pglive21 - Feb 24, 2013 at 4:06 PM

        You are delusional if you think Kobe wouldn’t have stayed in for that. He is more obsessed with his personal statistics than anyone in the game.

      • mrfloydpink - Feb 24, 2013 at 5:04 PM

        As a lifelong resident of Los Angeles–subjected to the incessant coverage/discussion of the Lakers–and a definite non-fan of Kobe Bryant, I will tell you that you are unequivocally wrong. Kobe Bryant is a pushy, arrogant ass who rubs nearly all his teammates the wrong way. But his #1 concern, and his #2 concern, and #3, #4 and #5 is winning.

        You really shouldn’t post to basketball blogs if you, you know, don’t know anything about basketball.

        Oh, and LeBron James remains a self-involved prick, whether you admit it or not.

      • fmax724 - Feb 25, 2013 at 12:23 AM

        Totally disagree. Kobe will continue to play until he becomes the All-time leading scorer of the NBA. Micheal Jordan’s acceptance speech was the epitome of selfish/self-centered individual. Kobe wanted Shag out of tinseltown because he wanted to be the man.., BUT Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan would NEVER stay in a game for this reason, because their focus is/was not on their personal stats. Yea ok

      • loungefly74 - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:40 AM

        pglive21…completely wrong, my friend. it is you that is delusional. an example that comes to mind to prove you are wrong? last year’s scoring title. kobe had it in the bag. could have easily won it…but the situation called for him to not “lebron”…errr…i mean gun for the points/stats. mrfloydpink nailed it. it is winning he is obsessed with…have a cigar, dude.

        this to me…makes me feel like lebron is the type to leave an exact 15% (not a penny more) when he tips. alright, that was uncalled for…

      • craighsite - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        This is crazy! How many times has he not persued the triple double when it was withing reach? He as never played the “stats” game and always makes the right basketball play. As a High School Varsity Basketball Coach he is an example of how you want you players to approach the game! He is not pretentious or selfish! This dislike and hate would be present no matter what he said or did. Get off your high horses guys because you all sound small minded!

  3. gotampabay52 - Feb 24, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    have another hit at the bong Mr Pink

  4. johnlink00 - Feb 24, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    As a Celtics fan, this is what Rondo was getting killed for: being more about stats than wins. Even though I love to hate LeBron, this does not feel like a situation where he was doing that. I want to be mad at him, but this just won’t get me there.

  5. tmatic74 - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    Lebron toyed with the Sixers. Even though he was bored he messed around and got a triple double.

  6. psung26 - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Lebron: CHECK MY $TATS

  7. snaxdsp - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    What a punk

  8. hoosiercolts - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    Moral obligation to pull players??? This is a game, where the point is to score more than your opponent. If you are up by 30… You have no “moral obligation” to pull your starters. The other team has a “moral obligation” to play harder and close the gap. The only time I will ever say that you have a “moral obligation” to pull starters is when the game involves kids…. But only middle school down. High School kids… Sorry, play harder if you don’t want to get beat so bad.

    • sasquash20 - Feb 24, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      I don’t think its a big deal really. But I do remember another superstar left in a game that clearly was over, and that superstar then suffered season ending injury. The goal should be a NBA championship not 1 more triple double. Ask the Bulls coach if he wished he pulled D.Rose last season in the playoffs against these same 76ers. Championship should always be the goal!

  9. drewdatwit84 - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    u commenters are idiots. Every night he plays to facilitate and get teammates their stats and u folks don’t commend him for playing good team ball. But the ONE time LeBron actually wants just ONE damn rebounds to get a triple double and u fools want to crucify him. Get off his nuts already.

    • guyaneserj - Feb 25, 2013 at 7:57 AM


  10. bhester1906 - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    Who cares? That’s how laughable this game ended up being. 76ers’ fans should be upset with the 76ers.

    • sasquash20 - Feb 24, 2013 at 2:05 PM

      we are and have been for over a decade

      • pantsfreezone - Feb 24, 2013 at 2:23 PM

        Hey, you guys made a nice run last year. If the refs hadn’t given Boston that series, you would have gotten to the ECF.

  11. drewdatwit84 - Feb 24, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    1 rebound short of a triple double at the end of 3Q’s. Only 49 seconds into the 4th he GETS THAT rebound. And 55 seconds after that, he leaves the game for good. Not even 2 full minutes played in the 4th, and u idiot haters up there have a problem with that??? U fools either need better hobbies or a new life or Jesus or SOMETHING. either way, let go of the LeBron hate. It’s SOOOO old now, just stale smh

    • manchestermiracle - Feb 24, 2013 at 11:16 AM

      And if he hadn’t gotten it then, he’d be “out there until I got it,’’ risking injury for a lousy stat. If winning the game is the most important thing, why is he focusing on something as over-rated as a triple-double? That is selfish and certainly not team-oriented.

      • craighsite - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:12 PM

        It was his normal sub rotation. Release yourself from the hate. He was joking! Damn!

  12. realninerfan22 - Feb 24, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    Lbj is a glory hound. Tonight was d wades night but this cat wants to always have the attention on him smh… What a frontrunner..

  13. acdc363 - Feb 24, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    I would have done the same thing

  14. teambringitstrong - Feb 24, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    See, here’s the problem. I don’t care that he’s honest and forthright and don’t cater to what the fake ‘people with values’ aka Marie Gil or her alma mater think or say but be you. LBJ, I still don’t like the way you handled the decision but I’ve moved on. Continue to be you and the people that ‘hate on you’ are losers faced with the realization of their own meaningless lives. However, those yahoos aside, do a better job of maintaining within the fraternity. You know of what I speak.

  15. miamatt - Feb 24, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    LeBron’s comment was totally a joke, although I’m sure he decided “I better get a damn rebound before I come out.” He has had an absurd number of one or two rebounds/assists off a triple double, if anything he was poking fun at himself. The Heat lead was only 15 when LBJ came out with 10+ minutes left in the 4th quarter, hardly an insurmountable lead on the road.

  16. scalfor3 - Feb 24, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    I’m no LeBron fan, but this is much ado about nothing

  17. thestudiokida - Feb 24, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    I’ve watched every LeBron James game for the last 5 seasons so let me inform everybody that he never goes for statistics. His triple-doubles are way down since he came to Miami but obviously that isn’t because he’s playing worse. He just has a ton of games where he’s within 2 rebounds or assists of a triple double.

    I saw a stat once about near triples-doubles and LeBron had twice as many of those (about 80) as actual triple-doubles. If he chased stats like Rajon Rondo he’d probably have 100 career triple-doubles instead of 35.

  18. broadstbully - Feb 24, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    To the gentleman/lady who said that neither Kobe nor Jordan would chase a stat:


    • southbeachtalent - Feb 24, 2013 at 9:32 PM

      More like hahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!

  19. craighsite - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    Its amazing how everything is alwasy taken out of context with this man! Lighten up people!

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